In 1999 a young batsman made headlines for Pakistan, his flawless batting skills and fearless approach to the game made him a standout star for the future, having had success around the world both with the national team and various T20 franchises, he instantly became a fan favourite, his career was put on a sudden holt, as a severe case of arthritis plagued him for five years, many said his career was over, but with grit, determination and faith he made a full recovery and is able to play the game he loves again.
We have the pleasure today to have a conversation with the comeback king Imran Nazir.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Imran Nazir, grew up playing cricket in a small town called Muridke, represented Pakistan on many occasions. Still hold the record of highest run-scorer for Pakistan in a World Cup game.
Growing up which cricketer did you admire most?
Imran Khan was my idol when i was growing up.
You have played across the world what is your most fond memory of the game?
The 2007 T20 World Cup final vs India in Johanesburg.
You Suffered from a potential career-ending illness arthritis, tell us how you were able to recover and make a comeback and still be able to play top-level cricket?
I helped my servants with the housework, played with my children. Mostly, I spent time with my family, my children and, at the end of the day, my wife. I only prayed to God for one thing, that I don’t want to stick to bed in such a way that I am unable to get back up again. Although it was something like this, I understand that my prayers were accepted. I just said to God, I want to remain in a state of activity and out of bed. I was referred for physiotherapy. Then I had the stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) done. Slowly, slowly, after the first PRP, the first stem cells, praise to God, I started to feel that I might just be getting there.
Your story is an inspiration, what words of motivation would you have for those fighting an illness but are trying to get back to become healthy?
Whenever difficulties arrive, you must stay strong. My suggestion to everyone fighting with illness is that always believe in Allah and stay strong otherwise the illness will get rid of you.
Despite not being in the national teams”s fold, you are still an integral figure in the first-class scene helping mentor the young players around you, which players do you see as the future of Pakistan cricket?
I think Babar Azam is the best cricketer in recent times. He is young and eager to learn.
Name one player past or present that you would love to play alongside?
As I mentioned earlier that my favourite cricketer was Imran Khan when I started watching cricket, therefore I’d love to play alongside Imran Khan.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years in cricket?
I see myself as a cricket mentor/coach and social worker helping people to fight against illness.
How would you define success?
I believe success is the outcome of hard work. No one can achieve success without hard work. For me hard work is success, once you start working hard that’s when you’re successful.